Rome (cruxnow.com) - On March 27-31 some 22 bishops from Canada were in Rome participating in the semi-regular visits to Rome the world’s bishops pay every five years, to meet with the pope and all the offices of the Roman curia.

“The very first words [Pope Francis] said to us were ‘I understand that being a bishop is a very difficult task, and I want to thank you, and I want you to share with me what you’re experiencing in your homes, and allow me to talk to you as a pastor’,” said Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia.

Nowakowski spoke at length with Crux about their meeting with Francis on Monday 27, after celebrating Mass on the tomb of St. Peter, in St. Peter’s Basilica. Among the issues they spoke about with the pope during their 2.5-hour encounter was the youth, Canada’s assisted suicide bill, and sinodality.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest of the 22 Eastern churches in communion with Rome, and has a large membership in Canada, where many people went after leaving Ukraine.

Talking on March 30, Nowakowski also spoke about the “blessings” and “many challenges” of having married priests, something the Ukrainian church has had for centuries, in response to comments recently made by Pope Francis on this regard.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head." 

St. Seraphim of Sarov